Crikey! You take a brief hiatus from cycling and, while you’re not looking, the weather goes nuts.
A combination of factors has conspired to keep me off the road – including, as it turns out, a failing wheel bearing. For a while now I’d been getting a graunching noise (technical term) that was really getting on my nerves. And the bike felt sluggish. Having finally got the bike up on a stand I could see that there was resistance preventing the rear wheel from turning freely. Not having the necessary spanner or spare ball bearings, I took the wheel into the local bike shop. €10 and some re-lubing sorted the problem. Now the bike’s running like new again.
Today provided the perfect excuse for ignoring work and going riding.
I have an exhibition of my landscape photography coming up. This means a lot of promotional activity and today I needed to post out some press releases. Just three of them. And I didn’t have the necessary stamps at home.
The nearest post office is 7.5km away – that is, a 15km round-trip. That’s too far to walk. But it’s ridiculous to drive that far just to mail three letters. Luckily, I had just the thing. A bicycle.
I’m not sure what the temperature was, but I’d be surprised if it was much below 35°C (that’s what the car’s thermometer was reading an hour later). That’s hot for Normandy. Tar was popping up through the road surface like beads of black sweat. At first, Trish thought the tar bubbles were tiny beetles, partly because of the crackling sound they made as we rode over them.
You’d think cycling would only make you hotter, because of the effort. But, of course, we were on e-bikes, so the physical effort was much reduced. And if the air isn’t moving enough to cool you down, the next best thing is to move through the air. We fully registered the blistering heat only when we stopped.
A slight diversion on the way back meant we actually cycled 17km. It felt like nothing.
And the fact that the ride had a practical goal made it even better. There’s something about using a bike for real transportation, rather than just recreation, that heightens the enjoyment.